Are You Really a Beachfront Hotel?

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A new consumer website, The Beachfront Club, is taking away the guesswork for travelers looking for true beachfront hotel experiences. The Hong Kong-based site launched by a photographer and former hotelier seeks to expose those hotels claiming to be beachfront resorts but in reality may be across the street or, worse yet, behind a layer or two of buildings away from the water. Also qualifying are hotels that sit on headlands or cliff tops directly above the water.

Owners of the site say they've combed the world to locate 8,400 properties worthy of the “true beachfront” appellation. They believe around 1,500 or so have yet to be cataloged. The site includes about 2,200 high-tech maps of the world's tourist beaches that show the shape, size and position of each beachfront hotel in those districts. The maps are bolstered by satellite images of the beaches. Hotels that meet the criteria receive free listings, although premium memberships are available for a monthly fee.

This kind of site may resonate with smart consumers digging for the truth in travel planning. It also points to the transparency the Internet offers. Hoteliers, and their marketing agents, are no longer able to woo potential guests with retouched photos and glib copy. Truth in advertising is no longer a worthy ideal; it's the only way to do business.

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